A Summer Classic

When I think of summertime, there are a few things that always come to mind—mostly, because I grew up in the rural South.  But, there’s just nothing like the sound of cicadas singing in the trees on a warm summer evening, a night sky so dark that you can see the Milky Way and almost every constellation. And, of course, fresh tomatoes picked right out of the garden—sliced and enjoyed between two pieces of bread with a bit of butter, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper…the classic tomato sandwich. My first memories of this iconic Southern treat were made while visiting my grandma. As a child, I would spend a week with Grandma and Grandaddy Dooley every summer. Grandma was a Sunday School teacher for many years, and she taught Bible School during the week I visited. I still remember the experience so clearly: riding the church bus around curvy, back country roads to Mt. Zion Baptist Church; listening to Grandma tell us a Bible story about Jesus and making a special craft in her classroom; singing “This Little Light of Mine” during choir practice; and, running around the old church cemetery as the sun set chasing lightening bugs with the other children. Anyway, it was during one of my week long summertime visits that I encountered the tomato sandwich. Most everybody in this rural area had a garden, and Grandaddy Dooley took pride in his tomatoes.  So, there were plenty to […]

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Winter Grapefruit and Avocado Salad

When I first saw the recipe for this colorful winter salad in the cookbook, Southern My Way–Simple Recipes, Fresh Flavors by Gena Knox, I knew I had to make it.  Mainly, because it looked so healthy, but also, because it contained many of my favorite foods and spices—avocados, citrus fruit, basil, and ginger. Plus, it’s nice to enjoy food fare that’s a little lighter, especially after all of the indulgences around the holidays.  This refreshing salad makes a nice starter to a winter meal. And, if you add shrimp or crab, it becomes a light but satisfying lunch (or dinner).   Winter Grapefruit and Avocado Salad *Use organic ingredients when possible Prep Time 10 minutes Serves 4 Ingredients: Salad 2 pink grapefruits or oranges (or one of each) 2 ripe but firm avocados 1/3 cup torn basil leaves 1 head buttercrunch or bibb lettuce, torn into large pieces Dressing (I have to say, this cookbook has the BEST dressings.) 2 tablespoons minced shallots 1 teaspoon soy sauce 1 teaspoon honey 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger 2 tablespoons good quality olive oil Method: First  Peel and segment the grapefruits/ oranges, reserving 4 tablespoons juice. Next  To prepare dressing, whisk together reserved grapefruit/orange juice, shallots, soy, honey, sesame oil, ginger, and olive oil.  Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper; set aside. Last  Quarter avocados lengthwise and remove pit and peel.  Cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch slices and place […]

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Berry and Red Wine Sorbet

A wonderful combination of berries and red wine, this easy and elegant sorbet has aromas and flavors of blackberry cobbler and strawberry preserves.  So refreshing, it’s the perfect light ending to any holiday meal. Plus, it’s a great way to use up leftover wine. 😉   Berry and Red Wine Sorbet: *Use organic ingredients whenever possible. Makes: 12 Servings Makes: […]

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Winter Grapefruit and Avocado Salad

When I first saw the recipe for this colorful winter salad in the cookbook, Southern My Way–Simple Recipes, Fresh Flavors by Gena Knox, I knew I had to make it.  Mainly, because it looked so healthy, but also, because it contained many of my favorite foods and spices—avocados, citrus fruit, basil, and ginger. Plus, it’s nice to enjoy food fare that’s […]

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Holiday Snack Mix

I always enjoy making this festive snack mix to share with friends and family.  It makes a fun party favor or even a lovely hostess gift, especially when presented in a colorful tin. Ingredients: Dried cranberries and mini marshmallows will mix merrily with this snack…use your favorites. 10-1/2 oz. pkg. rice cereal squares 8-oz. pkg. candy-coated chocolates 8-oz. pkg. candy-coated […]

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Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake

Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake   *Use organic ingredients when possible. Serves 8-10   Ingredients: 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 teaspoon nutmeg 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 1 tablespoon orange zest 2 cups cooked, pureed pumpkin 1/2 cup sour cream 1/2 cup sugar 1 cup packed light brown sugar 1/2 […]

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More Treat Than Trick: Sauternes and Sage Jelly

Growing up in the country and on a farm, it was commonplace to preserve as much of the summer’s harvest as possible. My parents and grandparents worked all spring, summer, and fall planting gardens, picking vegetables, tending fruit trees, picking berries, and then canning, freezing, and storing much of it for future use.  I can still see kitchen counters covered with Mason jars of green beans, tomatoes, and black raspberry jam, and the beauty of the jewel-tone colors as the sun shone through the glass and its hard-earned contents. It’s because of this seasonal tradition that I observed and participated in as a child that I appreciate the work that goes into preserving as well as the delight in enjoying something homemade. That’s why I love using a familiar recipe or even finding a new one each year to preserve something special to share. So, when I was leafing through epicurious cooking magazine recently and discovered a recipe for wine jelly–specifically, Sauternes and sage jelly, I knew I had to try it.  I’ve made fruit jams and jellies, pickles, and even chutney in the past, but I’ve never tried making wine jelly–until now.  The cooking magazine raved about this jelly, describing it as “sophisticated and subtle.”  It also stated that it was a delicious substitute to the green mint jelly that traditionally accompanies lamb. Actually, this sublime jelly is wonderful with any roasted or grilled meat and is a fantastic […]

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Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese

With a sweet, earthy flavor, juicy texture, and beautiful ruby-red hue, beets make a salad into something sensational.  The key to making them the highlight of a simple yet elegant salad is roasting, making the beets juicy and tender with a concentrated sweetness.  Peeling is easier when the beets are still warm.  Also, tossing the sliced beets with the dressing […]

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